'The top players turn up in the big occasions' - Keane on Fernandes' performance yesterday

‘The top players turn up in the big occasions’ – Keane on Fernandes’ performance yesterday

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Roy Keane has lay aside comparisons between Bruno Fernandes and Eric Cantona following Manchester United’s latest semi-final defeat, suggesting the Portuguese was found wanting on the big occasion.

The Red Devils made it four progressive last-four exits under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Wednesday night after goals from John Stones and Fernandinho sentenced them to a 2-0 thrashing by their local rival, Manchester City, in the Carabao Cup semi-finals at Old Trafford.

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Pep Guardiola’s side will now face Tottenham at Wembley on April 25 as they look to match the Liverpool team of the early 1980s by winning English football’s secondary cup competition for the fourth year in succession, while United’s wait for a first trophy since 2017 goes on.

Midfielder Fernandes has shone for the club since joining from Sporting Lisbon 12 months ago, scoring 27 goals and providing 17 assists in 46 appearances across all competitions amid accusations that Solskjaer’s men are too reliant on the 26-year-old.

Fernandes’ stellar form has led to favourable comparisons with legends from United’s past, though Old Trafford hero Keane evidently believes he needs to do more to drive the club back towards trophy success.

“It’s not easy winning football trophies. Fernandes has had praise for the last few months and people have been comparing him to Cantona. He didn’t really do much tonight,” Keane said in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports.

“The top players turn up in the big occasions. And that’s what the Cantonas used to do – they get their hands on trophies. That’s where this team are a little bit short.”

United will look to respond quickly to their latest semi-final defeat when they host Watford in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday evening.

Solskjaer’s side are at present level on focuses with Liverpool at the Premier League highest point and will at that point get an opportunity to go top of the table when they travel to meet Burnley at Turf Moor in a modified fixture on January 12.

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